MILAN — As Lapo Elkann was recovering from a near-lethal cocaine overdose about a year ago, the subsequent media assault forced him to do some deep soul-searching.

The grandson of Gianni Agnelli was mum about the unexpected episode at the time, but he is now opening up about his past, admitting his mistakes and depression; he did so during an interview last week on Rai Uno, Italy’s main TV channel.

An articulate and perky Elkann told WWD during a phone interview, “It was the hardest part of my life. I committed a big mistake, so I wanted to understand more about myself. The question I asked myself was, ‘Who is Lapo — forget Elkann — and what does he want?’”

The answer the 29-year-old son of Margherita Agnelli and writer Alain Elkann came up with was that Lapo is an independent person who loves Italy and design and wants to support his country. And for those reasons, he has formed Italia Independent, a company launched Wednesday during the Pitti Uomo fair in Florence.

At the moment, Italia Independent is only a pair of sunglasses called Sever that are made entirely from carbon, a first in the eyewear sector. The sunglasses will be launched at the Luisa Via Roma specialty store.

The wraparound frames include other innovations — they involve no licensing agreement, and production is fully controlled; they can be personalized, and they can be purchased on the Web.

For complete coverage see tomorrow’s issue of WWD.